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back to article Apple 2G iPod Touch

We like the iPod Touch. It's not the only portable device with a touchscreen control system, but the way that Apple has employed the technology is clever. We can spend hours idly flicking our finger across the screen, watching the pretty album artwork slide back and forth. And that business of ‘pinching’ your fingers to zoom in …

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Coat

???? Really puzzled

How a review of a audio player does not actually review the sound quality, but review everything else about it.

The sad fact is, all iPods sound horrendous. If you care about music, you certainly wouldn't be listening to music on any of Steve Job's products.

Until they fit a half decent DAC, and get the SnR within reasonable limits, then they can kiss my ass...

Creative, iRiver and Sony are where the proper players live.

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IT Angle

But can it use eBooks?

Or AvantGo (or similar) offline web browser?

Can I put (micro/mini) SD cards (with my music on) in it?

I'm not asking for it to be a universal remote control (yet) but it would be nice to at least be able to do what my Palm can.

ttfn

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Stop

Sound quality

Hi,

It sounds strange how every review of the iPod Touch doesn't even bother to test the sound quality.

It's even stranger that we know that Wolfson announced earlier the lost of an important contract in the MP3 player area (=Apple).

So the 2G Touch (probably) use the same Cirrus DAC used in the Classic.

I tried the new touch in poor conditions (good earphones, poor battery and no A-B comparison with my 5.5G iPod), but it sounded incredibly poor, metallic sounds. It probably won't affect users of the Apple included earphones, but why every review is by-passing the main function of an MP3, sound reproduction???

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Si
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I wouldn't buy another Touch

Interesting review, I bought a 1G Touch when they first came out and found it to be an OK video/audio player but the relatively small storage space (I've filled my 160GB iPod Classic so 16GB was way too small) and the fiddliness of the on-screen keyboard meant I rarely ever used it or even switched it on. Mobile Safari is nice (although no Flash is a problem) but finding an open Wi-Fi signal is very rare, so generally I could only access the internet with the Touch at home or at work, at which point I could just use the "proper" browser on my computer.

So I think the Touch is OK, but I struggled to find a use for it. Now, the 3G iPhone I recently bought is a very different story... I took it on holiday with me and the freedom of being able to access the web and my email anywhere was fantastic. I did a lot of hiking so being able to track my progress using the satellite maps and GPS was brilliant. I could then take a few snaps using the camera and check the weather forecast to ensure I wasn't going to be caught in the rain. Plus with a VNC client and an SSH application I was able to get onto the servers at work and remotely resolve a problem.

O2's coverage could be better, admittedly I was hiking in very remote areas in Devon but I would have thought at least EDGE would have been possible down there. The phone transparently switches to the best connection it can get, down there that meant it was dialling up I think but it was still very usable.

The iPhone still has a lack of storage and I'm still not keen on the keyboard, but the always available internet plus the various other features like the camera, built-in speakers (which the Touch now has), GPS, SMS, etc, just make it my favourite gadget at the moment by far.

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Definitely a great platform

For the last 20 years I've been looking for a mobile computing platform that can stay with me all the time and I can use for real things. I've gone through a Z88 (wrote a PhD thesis using one 8-), Palm III, Palm IIIc, Sharp Zaurus, WinCE PDA/GPS, Newton, Psion 3, Psion 7, EEE701, Acer AO etc. Each one was good for something and bad for lots of other things; nothing quite hit the sweet spot for me, until the iPod touch that is.

The touch is simply a great platform for ulta-mobile computing. Its essentially an iphone-lite and for those of us not willing to spend the cash for carrier lock-in it mostly "just works" ... I say mostly because even with version 2.1 of the OS there are some stability issues with Safari (although the 2.0.x DRM issues have gone away).

It is excellent to use as an internet browser and the mail client is not at all bad, the free games and utils are good and I've bought a few things but nothing more than £5.99. I use it everyday even though I have more pdas/laptops/netbooks/desktops than you can shake a particularly large stick at .. the form and function is just great.

I bought a touch and a cheap wifi/bluetooth/3G phone and have paired them and it works great and much cheaper to run than an iphone.

I'd love the touch to have bluetooth so that it could be paired with most 3G phones and also with standalone GPS units ... then you can mix and match connectivity and functions based on your needs without having to buy an iphone.

Of prime importance is battery life .. I'd rather have a thicker unit but double the battery life ... either that or make the iphone carrier free for less than £400.

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Alert

Sound reproduction

Are we seriously getting upset about the finer points of sound quality on a piece of equipment that's designed to play back audio compressed using a lossy codec?

The 'Stanza' application, available in the App Store, is a free eBook reader for the iPhone / iTouch.

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Anonymous Coward

eBooks, yes

You can download Stanza for access to a ton of free text content and other readers for accessing paid content. Instapaper works as an offline browser. Apple's Remote application (free) lets you control your iTunes library over wifi (works very much like the included iPod application). No SD cards, likely to limit access to DRMed applications and simplify the experience for non-technical users -- but limiting for technical users.

I'm a bit dumbfounded by the "iPods sound horrendous" crowd. Audiophile testing and rebuttal here:

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-12519_7-9968448-49.html

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Sound quality...

I have to agree with the criticism of both the sound quality and the lack of any testing of it in the review.

I got seduced by the interface of the first 16gb version and my previous iriver had just croaked so I thought "why not?" and plumped for the Touch. A joy to use but yes, the sound quality is just so clinical and... empty. Merely serving to emphasise the trebly AAC format regardless of the headphones used.

I got so fed up with it I have stopped carrying two devices and have just changed my mobile to one with a proper headphone jack and now use that instead. It's a pretty telling unsaid statement when a phone that isn't intended to be a dedicated music player has a better sound quality than an Ipod.

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yes u can

ebooks are fine on the touch

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sound quality non-issue

They don't bother mentioning the sound quality because it's fine. In fact they did mention the crappy default earphones, but otherwise, the sound is great.

I suppose you fellows are the types who color in your CDs' edges with blue marker to "mellow out" the sound.

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@But can it use eBooks?

Yes, a number of ebook readers can be downloaded from the AppStore. eReader and Stanza are two good free ones.

@ Or AvantGo (or similar) offline web browser?

Instapaper Free does this for any web page.

@Can I put (micro/mini) SD cards (with my music on) in it?

Nope, all ipods are sealed units .. you want more memory buy a bigger one or stream it online from a server 8-)

@I'm not asking for it to be a universal remote control (yet) but it would be nice to at least be able to do what my Palm can.

Remote control of itunes works brilliantly. There is a remote mouse for desktops called SnatchTest which I am about to try out. There are SSH clients for remote server management and I think I've seen a remote control for some home automation stuff as well. Plus there are free RDP and VNC clients for full remote control of PCs etc. There is no IR so no TV remotes although it could control a media centre through wifi 8-)

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no reason to upgrade then

I primarily use my Touch as a PDA - for my needs it's excellent - and to watch movies on flights, for which it also is excellent

But I see no real reason, then to upgrade.

The much hoped for GPS chip is absent, n wifi - absent...

the one thing that may clinch it, is if I can use skype now that it has microphone input..

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@Sound quality

Sound quality is highly subjective. Unless, in the review, a scientific measurement is taken, under controlled conditions and repeatable with different devices then I don't see it would mean much in such a review.

One man's music is anothers rap, d&b, Kylie or Verdi .. difficult to measure objectively. If you want to know how good/bad/indifferent things sound then try them out yourself.

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@GPS people

Wouldn't GPS be.. sort of useless on an ipod? Sure, if you are in a building, or at a cafe or something you might get a wifi signal, but on the whole are you really in wifi that often where you don't know where you are? What I'd like is a way to download and cache maps for an entire city. I have a 16gb iPod touch, and quite honestly, I only listen to about 4gb of music at any given time. Let me cache the various zoom levels of google maps and use them while out and about. I realize there is (was?) a jailbreak way to do this, but it was no where near user friendly.

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Alert

Streaming video?

I have streamed video to my iPhone 3G (same speed wifi, same video playback) over 802.11g and can't see how getting .n would benefit this task.

Most video is at between 750 and 1200kbps and connecting over http to a hinted h.264 video source allows the same quality of playback (including just about the same speed of back/forward scrubbing) as putting the video directly on the iPhone at everything I've tried between 500kbps and 2mbps. While faster wifi is always welcome, you don't need it for video playback.

... unless, of course, there's something I'm missing.

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@???? Really puzzled

You might as well say that, I you really love music then you wouldn't be using a portable player anyway.

Replace the ear buds with a decent set of in ear ones. The sound quality is almost exactly the same as a Sony Walkman. Both use lossy codecs anyway. So now you don't need to be Really puzzled any more.

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WPA/WPA2 support

I'll be buying one when it supports the WPA/WPA2 that my wireless and work wireless are secured with.

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@Paul

Sound quality might be a non issue for you but is a valid criticism for many. No-one said it was complete shit, and no-one said it was white noise in an Ipod.

Just because you can't hear the hiss and overly peaky treble response of the player, or it isn't something that bothers you, there is no need to be a complete twat about it is there making c--tish comments like you did.

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Anonymous Coward

Sound quality

I imagine that true audiophiles will be listening to their 32kbps-compressed MP3s through £300 oxygen-free cabled earbuds anyway.

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@monkey

Not only can I not hear the hiss and overly peak treble in an ipod, independent audio testing cannot hear it either. The response is fine, the player is fine, all MP3 players are fine and I didn't think I was being a COMPLETE twat, just a partial one.

Now please excuse me, I must paint my iPod brown to make a warmer sound. It worked for my speaker grills you know.

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Flame

Sound quality

Moaning about the sound quality of a portable music player is like buying The Sun and moaning about the lack of proper journalism. It's a *portable* music player. It holds a day's worth of music. What more do you want? A coffee machine? I agree about the nasty sound of AAC, so just use 320KB MP3 and buy some decent headphones. I'm a Hi-Fi nerd who has in the past used a green pen on my CDs (just as an experiment, you understand, I didn't inhale) and the iPod does everythingI expect of it in sound quality terms - which isn't much but it's enough.

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Dead Vulture

LOL

All the idiots claiming the iPods sound fine. All I can assume is:

a) they have never actually heard a good player

b) they are blinded by the fact they spend mega£££ on something that sounds so crap.

c) They have serious hearing problems.

What is curious, is that if you listen to a Ipod with a decent set of in-ear headphones ( I use Shure mid range ones), the iPod sounds even worse. I think Apple are using some kind of frequency clipping in the headphones to make the players not sound as bad.

We are not talking snake oil here, it's basic things like SNR values and the audio reproduction from the DAC. It's nothing to do with the type of music you listen to (however Kylie/Radio1 fans I doubt would be overly bothered how the music actually sounds).

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@WPA/WPA2 support

Mmm, seems to support WPA/WPA2 and WPA/WPA2 Enterprise with version 2.x of the OS that comes with the new touch.

It appears to have support for client certificates and checking of server certificates, enterprise authentication etc.

WPA/WPA2 certainly works at home 8-) Each wireless connection can save its own configuration settings and it will automatically switched between different known wifi networks with no issues (that I have seen anyway!).

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I'm an idiot...

...who thinks the sound is fine.

But ok convince me. You say the SNR of an ipod is bad, please show me the test results. The test result that another poster posted showed it was just fine.

You say there is no snake oil involved? I'm ready to be convinced.

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Hang on a minute...

Now hang on, let’s park something right away.

No-one has questioned the fact that AAC, MP3, WAV etc are compressed audio and, as such, have sound quality issues as part of the compromise. Which by default mean ALL portable audio players do. A higher sample rate masks this to a large degree but you can still hear the phasing and hiss in the treble compared to the original source. That is if you can be bothered to do a side by side comparison, have it pointed out to you, or indeed care. If you don’t care that is entirely your prerogative, but no-one has made ill informed comment about what listening to compressed audio formats mean.

What people have pointed out, myself included, is that as a music player the Ipod Touch has some basic sound quality issues that have nothing to do with the compressed audio format compromise. There are other players on the market that do not have a background hiss so intrusive and have a better base playback sound. They are the facts pointed out here and no matter how insane an amount of money you pay for headphones, those issues remain.

The previous price point of the Touch range made this a very glaring fact and many of the reviews pointed this out time and again. Which I feel to be very valid when you consider how good players from other manufacturers sound and, for less money too.

Do 95% of consumers care about this base quality of the Touch? Nope, and it isn’t really fair to criticise them for it. Is the Touch possibly one of the best featured portable audio devices on the market? Yes, and the interface is borderline genius (as much as it pained me to admit it at first). But when the thing cost as much as it previously did, and some mobile phones now have comparable audio playback, people were damned right to question the base issue of the playback quality. As well as bring it up here. That’s the point.

And I said all of that without swearing too... Well fuck me!

Paul, I tried the brown thing for warming up my guitar tone and to try and get the Eddie Van Halen ‘brown sound’, but my Missus wanted to know what the smell was and called me disgusting when she found out what I’d done......

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Silver badge
Happy

Sound quality a bit toss? Mr Raith prescribes...

...a decent set of headphones, and a playback device with a decent range of EQ settings.

I like my iRiver H320 with Rockbox, had it for yonks, it sounds fine to my ears through a pair of Shure E2Cs [or N110s as they are called now I think?] and I have the EQ set up to give my usual grunge/rock/electronica based mewling-cabbages-on-the-Tube-drowning-out sounds a nice warm soundscape with plenty of treble and bass.

You're better off spending £50 on a pair of headphones for your current MP3 player than splashing out a couple of hundred on a new MP3 player - can give it a whole new lease of life.

Which is not to say I have never heard a bad MP3 player - I had a Zen V which I thought sounded crap back to back against my iRiver, no matter how I played with it's settings...but it was still perfectly listenable with the Shure phones as a temp replacement while I got a new battery for the iRiver.

*goes hunting for ATA-CF adapters and 32gb CF cards*

Steven R

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Sound is great

I read the c|net review and the iPod comes up in the top three players. The sound is decent enough. If you don't like it, then don't buy one. Isn't that simple?

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Wow..

To answer a few bits from above, it will do WPA/WPA2 without issue... including both TKIP and AES - so i'm fairly sure the Wireless side of things is covered...

More than 16Gb of music..... i've personally never quite got this part, i have thousands of CD's, literally thousands but that doesn't mean that i could struggle to find a bunch of tracks i wanted from a smaller selection of 100 or so... i've never been one to have my entire library on an iPod, purely because it would take an age to search through them all... though i can see why some folks want to, i hardly think it's a major sticking point.

Sound Quality, as many have said the standard headphones are rubbish, i bought a pair of Etymotic ER6i for my iPhone (actually for the Nano i also own) and the improvements are dramatic (though the bass/mid can be a little overblown at times), i get no hiss, no odd noises, no nothing unexpected.... however i rip my CD's in 192kbps AAC format, because it's a portable player, i'm not after the be all and end all of audio quality, i have an expensive hifi at home for that, in a room with little ambient noise, no car engine, or train tracks, or people talking..... there might be better quality units out there, but to be so hooked up on that is a little weird... if you don't want an iPod don't buy one, but don't slate it for poor audio when it plainly does very little different to 99% of the others on the market. You will not get "hi-fi" from a portable player, end of.

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Stop

Re: GPS and sound quality

Ahem, those people complaining about the lack of GPS need to realise that the iPhone uses A-GPS which calculates your position from THE MOBILE PHONE MASTS. Also, in order to display your position on Google maps you need to download the maps from the 'net. That's not gonna happen if you have no wifi connection. Please, do a bit of research before you whine.

As for sound quality, the only truly fair test is to analyze the frequencies of sound output from a player using an audio analyzer (See http://ap.com) since humans will always be biased. The result? iPods compare favourably with the likes of iRiver, despite iRiver fanboys bleating about superior sound.

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that f**king 'royal we' again!

"...We can spend hours idly flicking our finger across the screen..."

<begins banging head repeatedly against wall>

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I won an iPod Touch!

The audio quality is not as good as other, similar machines. If I had paid for the thing I would be upset to be told that I had to spend more money on ear buds if I wanted reasonable quality.

To be honest, the thing is a bit heavy if what you want is a portable record player. I know I can look at the album cover while the music is playing but, I don't do that sat at home with the original CD, why should I want to do it anywhere else?

Ok, it plays some games and has a web browser. I understand that some people like this idea. Personaly, I don't care, I don't play games and I don't want to browse the web on something so small and inconvenient. I have a palmtop but just run GPS software on it because I hate trying to browse the web on a small screen

What I would like to be able to do is to download photo's from my camera, or it's memory card/stick/module, to store them and view them on a screen that is a reasonable size for a mobile photo viewer. It doesn't do that, what a shame. For a lot of reasons, it would be good to be able to connect USB devices and read memory cards.

Why put it in a shiney tin box? I don't see what is wrong with a soft rubber one that will stand up to being in my pocket with a bunch of keys without looking like it has been subjected to a terrorist attack. The reason that it would have to co-exist with a bunch of keys is that it is so heavy that if I put it in my shirt pocket it would rip the pocket off.

I don't like it.

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Coat

Microphone support? Is WiFi VoIP far behind?

Since T-Mobile banned VoIP apps on their networks some time ago, some jokers were suggesting we start using these things instead. My question: Where was the microphone on the iPod Touch?

Well... seems Apple's answered this question for us. This Touch supports the Mic on their upcoming headset according to Mister Dean.

So.... how soon before an iPod Touch can replace an iPhone when within range of an 802.11 network?

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Stop

GPS and aGPS

The iPhone 3G has BOTH GPS types. It acquires aGPS data from cell towers first, since it's quick to do, then in a few seconds updates that with more accurate satellite GPS. If it used only GPS, apps would take several seconds to pull the data, making the device feel sluggish. Also, keeping the GPS system cycling every 30 seconds has dramatic battery saving potential, and once aGPS is fine tuned with GPS data, aGPS is nearly as accurate. It's really the ideal solution for a mobile platform. aGPS alone is not as accurate, but having both systems proviudes the best speed, battery life, and overall accuracy.

aGPS is "asisted" GPS. by itself aGPS is not a complete system. Sattelite data is still collected and still used. Stop spreading FUD about aGPS if you don;t understand the technology.

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Happy

Funny you should ask

I've used http://www.fring.com/blog/?p=226

fring and skype on my iPhone in wifi areas.

I understand it also works for Touch. And it's being upgraded for the new Touch:

http://www.fring.com/

if it's not already upgraded.

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Anonymous Coward

A-GPS clarification

The iPhone's GPS is indeed Assisted-GPS, but that doesn't mean it *just* gets its information from the mobile phone masts. A-GPS helps the real GPS chip to get a quicker fix, but you can use the GPS functionality out of cell range and even without a SIM card (I've done it).

On the iPhone at least, the Maps app caches recently visited maps so you can track yourself outside of mobile range. If Maps had more advanced caching, a GPS chip on the iPod Touch would work just fine, but of course having a data network (and therefore an iPhone) is far preferable for location-based services.

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Jobs Halo

Mine sounds fine

@LOL AC

Sounds to me like you got a dodgy iPod touch because mine sounds absolutely great when I use it with my Shure E3C headphones (mainly electro, dance, pop, techno and ambient music).

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Anonymous Coward

Lossy Audio

Right well the sound quality on any audio system is worth looking at as many different players handle things differently.

I have both an iRiver and an iPod... the iriver wins everytime for sound, so much so that if i listen to them back to back it annoys me!

Not to mention that a lot of players now support flac which is lossless... something apple need to start looking into! At the end of the day the sound is processed so it can sound good or bad. and it should have some form of rating in a review. yes its subjective, thatw why you ask a few people around the office!

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@Lossy

iPods do support a lossless codec, see ALE:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lossless

However native FLAC support would be welcome, as would codecs like DIVX.

My point about AGPS on the Touch stands. Waiting for a minute for a device to calculate your GPS position is fine at the start of a long car journey but not good for a mobile device. I can't imagine too many Londoners standing around on the street waiting to get a lock on their position. And without a means of downloading the maps a GPS would be useless.

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